woman sitting on couch under air conditioner and enjoying cool air

If you’ve been wondering how long you should run your air conditioner to cool your home or whether you should have your AC on all day long, you’re not alone. These are some of the most common questions people ask themselves with regard to their air conditioning unit as the warm weather arrives.

Let’s look at whether it’s more beneficial to turn your air conditioner off when you aren’t home and other ways to efficiently run your A/C during the warmer summer months.

How Long Should I Run My AC Unit?

To answer the question of how long should your air conditioner run to cool the house, a good working central AC unit should be able to cool a moderate, four-bedroom house by ten degrees in three hours.

Certain factors including the power, size, and age of your unit, as well as the current temperature outside will affect the cooling powers of your AC, but wherever yours falls on the scale, your home should be noticeably cooler within a few hours. If it isn’t, you may have some separate issues to contend with that need to be addressed by a professional sooner than later.

Best Tips for Using Your Air Conditioner Efficiently This Summer

Run Your AC More Economically

To help your air conditioner run more efficiently, set your AC as high as is comfortably possible and use a programmable thermostat to increase temperatures when you’re out of the house.

It is much more beneficial and cost effective to do this instead of turning your unit off altogether when you are away from home. If fact, doing so could increase your summer cooling bills by 10%.

The less difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the less you will spend. Set your thermostat to 28ºC instead of 22ºC, and you could save up to 18% off your cooling costs.

Take Care of Your AC Unit

One of the best ways to keep your AC in top shape is simply to keep up with regular maintenance. Dirty AC filters can block air flow and make your unit work harder to cool your home. Cleaning and/or replacing them once a month can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%.

Also, keep your unit’s outside evaporator and condenser coils free of dirt and debris as well to help keep things running smoothly.

Use a Ceiling Fan

Your room can feel six to seven degrees cooler via the wind-chill effect if you use a ceiling fan. By using a ceiling fan alongside your air conditioner, you can disperse cold air more efficiently and raise your thermostat by as much as four degrees, without feeling uncomfortable.

Just remember to turn off your fan when no one is in the room, as this can waste electricity.

Ceiling fan

Avoid Heat Build-Up

Stop your air conditioner from working overtime by limiting the use of big heat-generators like computers, stereos and TVs. When the outdoor temperature exceeds the temperature indoors, also refrain from activities that generate a lot of heat including cooking, using the dishwasher and clothes dryer.

As an alternative, try washing dishes by hand and letting them air dry, hang clothes on a line, grill outside, or simply wait to do these activities until after dark to help keep excess heat and humidity at bay. Closing your curtains or blinds can also prevent solar heat gain.

If you have more questions about how long your air conditioner should run to cool your house or keeping your air conditioner unit on all day, contact D&B ClimateCare for all of your heating and cooling needs.

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